Photo by Gerald Castillo
Sule's career performance powers Bobcats to win over Houston Baptist
Texas State has been riding Alonzo Sule to victory and Saturday was no different.
The redshirt freshman forward scored a career-high 23 points — the second straight game where Sule has set a career high in points — to lead the Bobcats to a 90-80 victory over Houston Baptist in front of 2,103 fans inside Strahan Arena.
“I feel like my teammates have found me, you know, as I’ve been just been moving around our offense,” said Sule, who brought down 10 rebounds to secure his first career double-double. “I feel like, you know, I’ve just been trying to be active throughout the whole game and let the game come to me.”
Sule, who comes off the bench, has shot 90.4 percent from the field in Texas State’s last two games. Sule scored 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday. He went 10 of 11 from the field to record his 23 points on Saturday.
“(Sule’s) just getting his opportunity,” junior guard Nijal Pearson said. “He’s been working hard. He stayed in the system, kept working and he’s had some injuries so now he’s healthy. We knew Alonzo was pretty good.”
Head coach Danny Kaspar says a light has turned for Sule on the court.
“Something clicked and now he’s in there, he’s playing, he’s going to the boards, he’s playing with energy,” Kaspar said. “Like I told those other two big men (junior Eric Terry and junior Chandler Davis), I said, ‘You guys are the older players, you’re going to be sitting if you don’t start responding. This is life. You want to play, you’ve got to compete. You want to make money, you’ve got to compete. You want to get a promotion, you’ve got to compete.’
“... I’ll play a freshman if he’s the best player at that position. College is a whole different ballgame. (Sule) is really playing well and just like I said, a light went on.”
After HBU (2-5) jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start Saturday’s game, Texas State (9-1) answered with back-to-back 3-pointers from senior forward Alex Peacock and Pearson to grab its first lead of the game at 6-4.
Sule scored 15 points in the first half and Texas State saw itself with a 40-25 lead at the half.
HBU began the second half strongly. The Huskies cut the Bobcats’ lead to three points.
Holding onto a 48-45 advantage, Texas State responded 3-pointers from senior guard Tre Nottingham and Pearson to take a 54-45 lead.
The Bobcats pushed their advantage out to double digits, building their biggest lead at 71-86.
But HBU outscored Texas State in the second half, 55-50, thanks to a game-high 31 points from sophomore guard Ian Dubose.
The Bobcats, however, secured the 90-80 win over the Huskies.
“I’m very happy with the victory,” Kaspar said. “I’m a little disappointed when you give up 55 points in half at home and I told the players that. But there’s some good things in there. We’re still playing a lot of people … nine players got 10 minutes or more, and we’re very happy with Alonzo Sule’s progress this year. He’s been playing very well, playing with a lot of energy.”
Alongside Sule’s 23 points, Pearson finished with 14 points, Peacock tallied 11 points and Nottingham and junior guard Jaylen Shead recorded 10 points each.
Although Texas State’s 9-1 start to the season is third best in school history, the Bobcats know they can perform better.
“This season is going good so far but we understand that we’ve got to take one game at a time,” Nottingham said. “We understand what our goal is and how high are expectations are. And the way we’ve been playing, we know we could play way better. We didn’t aim to start off 9-1, we wanted to start off undefeated but for the rest of the season we’re going to lock in and get as many ‘Ws’ as possible and hopefully make it to the NCAA tournament.”